Choosing the right toys for 2-year-olds can be important as they reach a significant developmental stage in their lives. At this age, children are rapidly learning and growing, making toy selection that caters to their developmental needs more important. The best toys for 2-year-olds should encourage natural skill development while learning and also be engaging and fun.
In this ultimate guide, we will explore a wide range of toys that cater to the diverse interests and developmental needs of 2-year-olds. From educational toys that enhance fine motor skills and problem-solving to imaginative play toys that encourage creativity, we have carefully curated a selection of toys that will make playtime both enjoyable and beneficial. Also, we cover popular toy brands, age-appropriate toy selection tips, and some top gift ideas.
Educational Toys for Skill Development
Shape sorters help develop hand-eye coordination in 2-year-olds. As children manipulate the shapes to fit them into their spots/openings, they improve their ability to coordinate their hand movements with their visual perception.
Fine motor skills
By grabbing and maneuvering the shapes, children also improve their fine motor skills. Toy sorters come in a bunch of designs, styles, and themes, with many offering additional learning experiences like color and number recognition.
Montessori Garden Wooden Shape Sorter
This Montessori style wooden shape sorter is perfect for toddlers between the ages of 2-4! This toy has a really cool design that can help kids build their fine motor skills, and it teaches them about colors using fruits, veggies, and even (cute) worms.
It's an educational toy that's great for some quiet screen-free productive activities that can stimulate their creativity and natural curiosity.
Plus, since it's made of wood, you don't have to worry about any harmful materials! It's an eco-friendly toy that's safe for kids to play with and explore.
GOPO Montessori Wooden Shape Sorter
If you're looking for a fun and educational toy for your 18+ month-old toddler, Montessori style toys can be a great option! These wooden sorting and stacking toys come in bright colors and different shapes, making it a fun experience for boys and girls. The toy can help with shape and color recognition, as well as build their fine motor skills. It is made from high-quality natural wood, keeping your child safe while they play. It's no wonder this is becoming a popular choice for preschool kids. Check out the link above to grab your GOPO shape sorter today!
Building blocks encourage creativity and help develop problem-solving skills in 2-year-olds. As they experiment with different ways to stack and arrange the blocks, they learn to overcome challenges and think critically.
With endless possibilities for structures and arrangements, building blocks allow children to express their creativity and imagination.
Stacking Rainbow Blocks
This is a set of wooden rainbow stacking blocks that make for a great STEM toy for early education. With 19 non-toxic blocks, this toy is great for toddlers ages 1 -4 years old, making it a perfect gift for preschool activities. The open-ended design of these blocks allows tots to be creative and experiment with color and shape matching. Its vibrant colors and natural wood material also make it a visually appealing addition to any play area. Get yours now and watch your child's imagination come to life!
Azen Magnetic Building Set
This magnetic building block set is perfect for toddlers, with strong magnets that can withstand tall constructions and are sealed safely inside the plastic. The set is educational and fun, designed to help with STEM learning and creativity.
You can get this set in 30 pieces, 100 pieces, or 200 pieces, and they're a mix of short bars, long bars, curved bars, and round balls to build unique, organic shapes you won't get with Legos.
It is easy to use and perfect for children aged 2-10+. They're BPA-free and pass American CPC testing standards for safety.
If you're in the market for magnetic building toys, check out popular options like PicassoTiles, available on Amazon or Walmart, and other options at Target, eBay, or Fat Brain Toys.
Language development toys
Board books are an excellent tool for language development in 2-year-olds. By exposing them to new words, illustrations, and stories, you can help build their vocabulary and comprehension skills.
Melissa & Doug Poke-A-Dot Book
We love these "poke-a-dot" books by Melissa & Doug and there's a pretty good chance your toddler will love them too! We have more than one, the first was actually given to us by a speech therapist that was working with one of our children last year.
So, if you're looking for a captivating book that will help your child develop their language, counting, and other skills, check out this Poke-a-Dot Old MacDonald's Farm book. With its patented "Pop-a-Tronic" technology, this 20-page board book allows kids to discover the animals on Old MacDonald's farm and count them down from 10 cows to 1 rooster - all while popping the little buttons and hearing satisfying clicks and pops. The book features adorable illustrations and a sing-along approach to the classic Old MacDonald song.
There's a whole bunch of different themed poke-a-dot books to choose from if you've got a million and one farm animal books already, so make sure to check out the Melissa & Doug Store for all the options.
A musical toy, like a keyboard or other toys that play fun songs, can also help improve language skills. These toys introduce children to rhythm, melody, and sometimes lyrics, which can help improve their listening and communication skills too. Plus, who doesn't love music?
Joyjoz Musical Keyboard Mat
The Joyjoz Musical Keyboard is a great toy for music-loving toddlers (or helping to develop music-loving toddlers)! Not only does this keyboard feature 25 different music sounds but it can also be folded to a small size of just under 12"x6", making it easy to take anywhere.
This toy comes with two super cool modes. In the first mode, the random mode, it can play up to 9 different melodies. And in the second mode, the one-click mode, it has 9 music keys, 9 songs, and 7 animal sounds, so your little one can make new songs over and over. It's really awesome to see your little one giggle with joy as they explore and create new sounds.
Motor skill development toys
Pull and push toys
Pull and push toys, such as walkers or wagons, can help 2-year-olds develop their gross motor skills. As they push or pull the toy, they strengthen their leg and arm muscles and improve their balance and coordination.
Lydaz Bubble Lawn Mower for Toddlers
Are you looking for an outdoor push toy that your little one will absolutely love? If so, you've got to check out the Lydaz Electronic Machine! We have one ourselves, and it's definitely an adorable outdoor toy. This toy combines creative role play with the excitement of bubbles, making it the perfect outdoor activity for your toddler.
The Lydaz Electronic Machine is basically a lawn mower for kids, complete with realistic sounds and a bubble maker that will keep your child entertained.
Plus, it's super easy to assemble and disassemble, which saves a headache taking it out of the box and makes it a breeze to store!
Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Pull & Play Learning Wagon
This pull toy is full of interactive excitement that draws in babies and toddlers alike. The sweet little red wagon features 135+ songs, sounds, and educational content, including activities that teach colors, shapes, numbers, Spanish, and more. It has light-up buttons, xylophone "piano keys," shape sorter, a puzzle, and other features.
With three different settings, this toy can grow with children from 6 months on up, so it's still a great option for a baby too. This toy is perfect for encouraging children to walk more as they pull the cute wagon all over the house. The packaging is frustration-free and 100% recyclable, making it an eco-friendly choice for parents.
Ride-on toys like tricycles, scooters, or balance bikes also promote gross motor skill development. As children learn to pedal, steer, and balance, they become more confident in their physical abilities.
Fisher-Price Toddler Tricycle
If you were a child in the 80's or 90's you might remember the incredibly popular power wheels ride on toy- we certainly do! Well this is the equivalent today and it's just as popular with over 30,000 ratings on Amazon.
The Fisher-Price Trike Bike is an Amazon Exclusive toddler tricycle that features cool styling, graphics, and rugged, durable tires. We'd definitely grab the Blaze and the Monster Machine's style option for our house, as it's been a hit show for all of our children, but they've also got a Harley-Davidson, Thomas the Train, Hot Wheels, and two different styles of Barbie themed tricycle options to choose from if Blaze isn't your kids jam.
This is recommended for preschool kids ages 2 years and up. It comes with big foot pedals that make it easy for little riders to get rolling. The tricycle also has handlebar grips and an under-seat storage area, making it perfect for kids to go on exploring adventures. Don't miss out on this tricked-out trike that will provide endless hours of fun for your little biker.
Sports toys, like soft soccer balls or basketball sets with adjustable hoops, can help 2-year-olds develop their hand-eye coordination, balance, and strength while also introducing them to the concept of teamwork and cooperation. (And burn off some of that endless energy while at it!)
VTech Smart Shots Sports Center
The VTech Smart Shots Sports Center is a fantastic toy for your tot - even if they're not quite ready for the NBA or the World Cup just yet.
This awesome toy is designed for children between the ages of 1 to 3 years old, and it comes with frustration-free packaging. So, no more struggling to open up the toy while your little one is anxiously waiting to play! Plus, it's powered by 3 AA batteries - which most of us have at home already.
But the real magic of the VTech Smart Shots Sports Center is that it provides an exciting 2-in-1 play experience. Your little ones can shoot hoops and score goals on the soccer net while watching the light up scoreboard and learning how to count, recognize phrases, and sing along to the 65+ songs. Who knew that exercise and learning could be so enjoyable?
So why not give your little ones a chance to be the next LeBron James or Lionel Messi with the VTech Smart Shots Sports Center? It's the perfect way to keep them active, entertained, and learning at the same time!
Imaginative and Pretend Play Toys
Baby dolls are excellent toys for helping your kids develop empathy. By engaging in nurturing and caregiving play, children learn to understand and express their emotions while developing social skills.
Popular baby dolls for 2-year-olds include Baby Stella and other soft, age-appropriate dolls that come with various accessories for interactive play, such as feeding sets or outfits.
Manhattan Toy Wee Baby Stella Soft Baby Doll
Are you in search of a soft, cuddly first baby doll that your little one will love? Look no further than the Manhattan Toy Baby Dolls!
This adorable doll comes with a removable diaper and a magnetic pacifier, so your tot can get the "whole" parenting experience. And if the beige skin tone isn't what you're hoping to find, don't worry - there are plenty of other variations available, including the "peach" or "brown", but it also comes as a male version boy doll too!
Not only is this doll perfect for snuggles and playing pretend, it also teaches important skills like fine motor skills, responsibility, and nurturing.
Stuffed animals can be more than just cuddly comfort items (though they're definitely that), but they also help little ones develop important social and emotional skills. By caring for and nurturing their toy animal, kids can learn about empathy and compassion, which are skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. Plus, they make for great companions on road trips, in waiting rooms, or during quiet time at home. Two seemed to be the magic age for stuffed animals in our home, so we can definitely recommend this idea. Which specific one to get honestly depends on the specific tots interests.
ebba 10" Lil' Benny Phant
We chose this best seller because it's gender neutral, super cute (full disclosure, we're big elephant fans in this house) and quite affordable compared to most options. It's grey, 10" tall, filled with soft stuffing, and sits flat (i.e. looks great on the shelf too).
90% of the 6,300+ reviews give it a 5/5, so we're pretty confident that you won't regret buying your own Lil' Benny.
Playsets and open-ended toys
Playsets and open-ended toys, like kitchen sets, tool sets, or even a versatile tricycle, encourage creativity and imagination. These toys allow children to create their own stories and characters, helping them develop their cognitive skills and artistic side.
Little Tykes Activity Garden Playhouse
We have owned this set now for over two years (it was probably on a list for best toys for 2 year olds 2021 somewhere when we were shopping) and although it's recommended for 6 months-3 years, we found that 1 year olds and up was really the sweet spot. It's not a very big set, but our 3 year old does still enjoy using it.
One of the key reasons we've chosen this one over other potential playsets for little ones is that it has a lot of different options to entertain busy 1 year olds to 3 year olds, but there's not a lot of pieces that come off. One of the biggest issues we've had with play sets over the years is losing pieces when little fingers wander off with them. This set won't make a big mess to clean up when putting things away or lead to any tears when one of the favorite toys disappears.
Apart from our personal experience, there's over 10,000 reviews on Amazon for this floor play set and 80% of them give it a 5/5 rating.
Pretend play costumes and accessories
Role-playing and social skills
Dress-up costumes and accessories help 2-year-olds and older kids engage in role-playing, allowing them to explore different characters and situations from the safety of your home. This type of play helps develop their social skills, empathy, and understanding of the world around them.
Melissa & Doug Fire Chief Role Play Dress-Up Set
If you're anything like us, your home probably has a few pretend play dress up sets already. Like many of the products we recommend, this is another Melissa & Doug hit. We bought the doctor set over a year ago and our 3-4 year old loved playing with it, but this Fire Chief play set is more unique (there's sooo many doctor sets out there already) and tons of fun for little boys (and girls) that love firetrucks and emergency vehicles.
This particular high-quality set comes with a jacket, helmet, name tag, badge, and of course a cute little fire extinguisher.
The jacket is machine washable and like all Melissa & Doug products, it comes with a 100% happiness guarantee.
Art and craft supplies
10" Toddler Writing and Drawing Tablet
This simplistic toy is like an etch-a-sketch of it's generation and we honestly didn't expect much from it when we first bought ours, but admit that we've been surprised to find all of our kids going back to it randomly as time passes.
We love that it's a fun way to promote more independent play and more learning without screens, but even more so, we love that there's no mess to clean up when they're done! It's portable and makes a great travel-ready option for road trips and plane rides. At just 10"x7", it will fit in most backpacks and carry-ons and even some purses.
There's no bright lights or loud sounds to overwhelm others around you, no little pieces for younger siblings to choke on, and even older kids will enjoy it. You can use it for tic-tac-toe, hang-man, writing practice, basic math, or endless other educational activities and it will grow with your child.
Engaging play during bathtime
Bath toys are great for turning bath time into a fun and engaging experience for 2-year-olds, especially if your young kids have developed a preference to skip their cleansing routine as some tots are prone to do. Sometimes picking up a new bath toy is all it takes to get your little kids begging for bath time again!
Skip Hop Baby Bath Toy Basketball Hoop
Skip Hop makes a bunch of great childrens' toys and products, we personally love their whale water cup, but they have some pretty cute bath toys like the doggy basketball hoop we'd like to highlight today.
This sports toy is easy-to-assemble, roughly 18"x17"x17", and sticks to your bathtubs' tile or glass via a suction cup. The net has a draw-string close at the bottom to store your bath toys, which works great because this pup-tastic set comes with three small basketball-shaped squishy squirter toys.
It's rated for 12 months and up, so you can get it as a first birthday present or even just a tub experience upgrade for your older toddlers.
86% of the nearly 6,000 Amazon reviews give it a 5/5 score, so you know this budget-friendly pick is a winner!
Flashing lights and engaging features
One popular example is the Fisher Price push walker, which features light-up piano keys, spinning rollers, and other interactive elements that encourage exploration and learning.
If you're wondering whether the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Walker is still a good toy for your two-year-old, the answer is yes!
Even though your little one is probably a walking pro by now, this toy can still be a great way to keep them entertained and learning thanks to its Smart Stages technology. You can adjust the level of play to match your child's age and skill level to have a toy that grows with your kid.
And let's be honest, as parents, we all know how important it is to find toys that can keep our kids occupied for more than five minutes. With over 75 songs, sounds, and phrases, this toy can provide hours of entertainment (and give you a much-needed break).
So, go ahead and let your two-year-old have some fun with the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Walker.
Popular Toy Brands To Explore For 2-Year-Olds
Fat Brain Toys
Fat Brain Toys is a well-known brand that offers a wide range of educational and engaging toys for 2-year-olds. Their products focus on developing fine motor skills, cognitive abilities, and creativity, making them an excellent choice for parents and gift-givers.
Baby Einstein is another popular brand that provides toys specifically designed to nurture young minds. They offer a variety of toys, such as musical instruments, activity centers, and board books, that foster learning and development in 2-year-olds.
Manhattan Toy is a brand that creates high-quality, imaginative toys for young children. Their products include soft toys, activity toys, wooden toys, light up toys, and more, all designed to encourage creative play, learning, and development in kids.
Fisher Price is a well-established brand that offers a wide selection of toys for babies, toddlers, and even older kids, including light-up toys, ride-on toys, and interactive playsets. Their products are designed to be durable, engaging, and developmentally appropriate for this age group.
Melissa & Doug
You've probably picked up on our love of this brand already if you've read a few of our articles before, but this is probably the #1 brand of kids' activities and games in our home. They're such high quality that we've never had to worry about their money-back happiness guarantee, the variety alone would be enough to keep our kids satisfied for years, and generally speaking they're well priced.
Tips for Choosing Age-Appropriate Toys and Top Gift Ideas
Avoid small parts when selecting the toy you're buying for a 2-year-old, just because small parts can still pose a choking hazard. (Give it another year or two and most kids grow out of the everything-in-their-mouth phase.)
Check to see if the toy is made from non-toxic materials and adheres to safety standards. Look for labels indicating compliance with safety regulations, like the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) guidelines in the United States.
When choosing a toy for 2-year-olds, consider their interests and preferences. Selecting toys that align with their passions will keep them engaged and encourage continued learning and development.
Pick a toy that will promote a range of skills, like fine motor skills, cognitive development, and social skills, to help your kid be well-rounded in their growth and development.
More Top gift ideas
Some top gift ideas for 2-year-olds include age-appropriate building blocks, shape sorters, musical toys, and ride-on toys, which can also be suitable for slightly younger or older children, depending on their developmental stage.
Motor skill development
Stacking cups are a classic gift option for 2-year-olds that promote motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills. If you're interested in picking up a set to gift or grab for your own house, consider these:
KMTJT Toddlers and Babies Dinosaur Sorting and Stacking Toys Blocks
Not only does this toy feature 6 different types of dinosaurs, including fan favorites like the T-Rex and the Stegosaurus, and 6 different colored stacking blocks to nest them in, but it's also made with safe and durable materials. So, your littles can stomp and roar to their heart's content without you having to worry about them breaking the toy.
But wait, there's more! While the blocks themselves are made out of a sturdy card-board like material, the dinosaurs are water-safe and can double as bath toy squirters.
So, get ready for some roaring fun with this dinosaur toy. It's the perfect way to add some prehistoric excitement to playtime and who knows, maybe your little ones will even develop a love for paleontology!
Board books and language development
Board books are an excellent gift idea for 2-year-olds to encourage language development, early literacy skills, and a love for reading.
We have many articles published on book recommendations, so please check those out for more information:
In addition the books we've already recommend, and the Poke-A-Dot book above, consider the practically infamous electronic Leap Frog books, like this one here:
Selecting the best toys for 2-year-olds can be an overwhelming task, but with the right approach, it is possible to choose a toy that's engaging, educational, and developmentally appropriate for those tiny hands.
We just covered a wide range of toy categories, including educational toys, imaginative play toys, sensory fun toys, as well as some of the most popular toy brands, with a goal of providing a comprehensive overview of the best toys for 2-year-olds. By keeping these recommendations in mind, you can confidently select toys that will not only entertain but also contribute to the overall growth and development of the tot in question with some fun challenges.